Intergenerational resource sharing and mortality in a global perspective

Tobias Vogt*, Fanny Kluge, Ronald Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Resource sharing has always been a central component of human sociality. Children require heavy investments in human capital; during working years, help is needed due to illness, disability, or bad luck. While hunter-gatherer elders assisted their descendants, more recently, elderly withdraw from work and require assistance as well. Willingness to share has been critically important for our past evolutionary success and our present daily lives. Here, we document a strong linear relationship between the public and private sharing generosity of a society and the average length of life of its members. Our findings from 34 countries on six continents suggest that survival is higher in societies that provide more support and care for one another. We suggest that this support reduces mortality by meeting urgent material needs, but also that sharing generosity may reflect the strength of social connectedness, which itself benefits human health and wellbeing and indirectly raises survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22793-22799
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15-Sep-2020

Keywords

  • Intergenerational transfers
  • Mortality differences
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Resource sharing

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